While we wait for most of Canada to thaw out, we had the opportunity to work with Daniel Scott, IMBA Canada’s Trail Specialist, and the entire Trail Solutions team from the United States at the Coldwater Mountain project in Alabama.

We were trapped indoors on the first day due to flash flood and tornado warnings. Day two was a little drier and we were able to get out and help with laying out trails that will be built this year. Along with design work, we participated in some fascinating discussions led by some of the top builders in the United States. It offered us a great opportunity to learn more about our profession and absorb some knowledge from our peers.

After a quick stop in Chattanooga, Tennessee for an epic group ride we made our way to Asheville, North Carolina for the biennial Professional Trail Builders Association conference. Chad participated in the pre-conference rock armouring workshop to hone his skills. Deanne attended a road-to-trail conversion workshop to get some new ideas on how to make a nasty old logging road into sweet singletrack.

The core conference offered plenty of sessions with on topics ranging from how to use social media to market your trail project, to working with helicopters. The outdoor demo area allowed attendees a chance to try out a whole host of new machines at the same time as destroying an entire hole of an old golf course. The biggest benefit of attending the PTBA conference is the chance to network with trail professionals from around the country and the world and learn about their projects, challenges and successes.

It was an incredible week which we wrapped up with a fantastic ride in Dupont State Forest in sunny 27 degree weather.